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December 05, 2002 11:00 AM

She may have left her Catholic school outfit at her Manhattan digs, but actress-comedian Molly Shannon used her “superstar” status to help launch Art Basel Miami Beach, the sister show to Art Basel Switzerland, held Thursday night in the Miami Design District, PEOPLE reports.

Shannon, 38, tells PEOPLE that she’s an art lover — and a lover. “I’m here to look and buy and support my boyfriend,” she said, referring to Fritz Chesnut, a figurative painter based in New York City. Shannon also was escaping a winter storm that has blanketed the East Coast in up to eight inches of snow.

Shannon glanced at the trendy crowd bopping to the music and said, “I just love Miami. It is so grand and so fancy. You have big palm tress, big pools, big diamonds, big dinners and uh, big attitude.”

Next year, Shannon will be on the big screen in “The Guest,” a comedy costarring Ashton Kutcher, Tara Reid, Andy Richter and Carmen Electra.

In February, on ABC’s version of “The Music Man” starring Matthew Broderick, she’ll appear as the mayor’s wife (played memorably in the 1962 movie by Hermione Gingold), who, along with everyone else in River City Iowa, falls for the charms of the spellbinding traveling salesman.

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